Israel is facing a challenging time, but new Olim will not be deterred from fulfilling their lifelong dreams of Aliyah. On Nefesh B’Nefesh’s most recent Group Aliyah flight, all 65 new Olim were present and excited to make Israel their home.
Here is the inspiring story of one Oleh couple, Chana and Shmuel Eisenberg, who recently made Aliyah–just five days after their wedding.
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While living in Israel with a host family after high school, Chana Eisenberg considered staying. She was happier than she’d been in years and her host family encouraged her to make the move official.
“I felt like I’d become a better person and a better version of myself,” said Chana. But ultimately, she decided to return to New York, because she thought, “If I’m supposed to be in Israel, the guy I marry will also want to live in Israel.”
She enrolled in beauty school and soon became friends with a fellow religious woman, whose husband was also from New York. When Chana flew to her friend’s wedding in Detroit, she met the husband’s brother, Shmuel, and they immediately hit it off.
Shmuel had been living in Israel since after high school and was on vacation from the army. Soon after he and Chana started dating, he told her, “If you don’t plan on living in Israel, this isn’t happening.” Luckily, Chana was on board.
The couple’s relationship blossomed from Detroit to New York to Israel, and within six months, Chana and Shmuel were engaged and married. On October 13, 2015, less than a week after their wedding, the couple flew to Israel to make Aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh and to build their life in Jerusalem.
Some of their friends were concerned about Shmuel and Chana traveling to Israel at the time, but the couple did not share these concerns. From having lived in Israel before, the couple knew that everyday life wasn’t as it was portrayed in the news. “Everyone is still living their lives, going to work and to school,” said Chana. “I believe that if you don’t live your life, you end up missing out on so much.”
The day after landing in Israel, Chana and Shmuel’s friends gathered in their apartment from all over Israel to throw them a Sheva Brachot meal. They were touched to celebrate both their wedding and their homecoming with their Israel-based friends and family so soon after their arrival.
Two weeks into their Aliyah, Chana has started working as an esthetician in Jerusalem and Shmuel has begun his studies in international relations and political science at Hebrew University.
After a whirlwind month, the couple is happy to have settled in the Jewish homeland–together. “I look back and I see where life took me–how one thing led to another, including meeting Shmuel and moving to Israel,” said Chana. “It’s just amazing!”